Deck the Halls with ECHOage


With the holiday season in full swing, most of us are scrambling to buy the perfect gifts for loved ones, colleagues and the hosts of all those festive parties that lie ahead. The truth of the matter is, though, who really needs another candle or sweater?

The holiday season is inextricably linked to the message of giving to those in need.

So why not make this possible in a whole new way and reinvent the holiday giving experience? That’s what the people from ECHOage are planning to do with their recent expansion.


ECHOage is the brainchild of Alison Smith and Debbie Zinman. Launched in 2008, the organization was created as the answer for busy parents wanting to host meaningful birthday parties without all the fuss.

Alison, a children’s clothing and furniture designer, and Debbie, a former high school teacher, teamed together with a joint mission to start children’s charitable giving at a young age, “so that our communal values will shift towards more compassion and care for others within our communities,” explained Debbie in a phone interview.

The process is quite simple. The website allows for a custom e-invite to be sent to all party goers, a tracker to monitor results, and even an option to thank guests at the end. The birthday child selects a gift they want, and most importantly, her/his charity of choice. The funds get evenly split, meaning the family receives half the funds for the gift and the charity of choice receives the other half. There is an extensive list of charities to choose from. However, a few worthy causes include: Canadian Cancer Society, Second Harvest, Because I am a Girl, and WWF.



According to co-founder Debbie Zinman, “Birthdays can be a meaningful event.  This changes everything. With ECHOage, all your friends contribute to something you really want for your birthday, and they contribute to a cause you believe in.”

As of last week they launched a new development that includes parties for grown-ups. Because why should kids have all the fun? This includes baby and bridal showers, weddings and holiday parties and fundraisers. “Each day, we get to witness these amazing children participating in making their communities better, and it is truly inspiring to see,” says Debbie. “Now, people of all ages can follow these great kids and become ECHOage advocates too.”

Ready to spread the holiday cheer and give back to your favourite cause?  Visit the ECHOage website to sign up!


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Joanne Sallay

Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call – a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience.  Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring.

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